For Immediate Release: Feb. 3
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Northwell South Shore Nurses Authorize Strike
After Months of Negotiations, NYSNA Nurses at South Shore Overwhelmingly Authorize a Strike with 99% Voting in Favor
Long Island Nurses Ready to Strike for Safe Staffing and Respect
Bay Shore, N.Y.— Approximately 99% of New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) nurses voted to authorize a strike at South Shore University Hospital Northwell Health. Voting began on Sunday, Jan. 29 and concluded this afternoon.
The nurses’ contract with the hospital expired on Feb. 28, 2022, and nurses have been in negotiations with the hospital for many months. NYSNA members have become frustrated with the progress of negotiations. The strike authorization allows local NYSNA leaders to deliver a 10-day notice to strike at any time. Nearly 800 NYSNA nurses work at the hospital.
NYSNA local president at South Shore University Hospital Chrysse Blau, RN, stated: "We do not take striking lightly, and many of our members never thought it would come to this. But after months of negotiations, Northwell is still unwilling to listen to the nurses and deliver a contract that will help staff this hospital safely to deliver the care our community deserves. Next week we head back to the bargaining table and will continue to negotiate in good faith for a fair contract that ensures safe staffing. We don’t want to strike, but we will if Northwell gives us no choice."
The strike authorization vote comes on the heels of a successful strike in January of NYSNA nurses at two New York City hospitals, where nurses at Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore Bronx won groundbreaking agreements on enforceable safe staffing ratios and annual salary increases of 7,6, and 5 percent.
“If the hospital enforced safe staffing ratios, I would be confident that I could go to work every day and practice safely, but we’ve tried to negotiate so many times, and the hospital still won’t honor our requests,” said Jennifer Scimone, RN. “It’s nerve-wracking to go on strike, but at this point it’s necessary because it’s the only way left for us to be heard. We’ve worked hard our whole career to care and advocate for our patients, so we’re not willing to lower our voices and settle for what is unacceptable and unsafe.”
“A lot of nurses saw the pandemic as ‘It has to get better than this,’ but the opposite has happened. It’s not that we can’t provide patients with care, we can’t provide them with the attention and level of care they deserve. I’d be willing to go on strike on staffing alone because there are some days that you have no one to lean on. I know my skillsets and the years of experience I bring. For me to leave my patients’ side is not an easy decision, but this could be my friend, my uncle, my dad. We’re doing this for our patients,” said Antranik Garabedian, RN.
“I’m a pumping mom. I just came back from maternity leave a few months ago, and to have to wait hours past the time I should pump, or not knowing whether I’ll be able to at all, that takes a toll on me as a mom,” said Arielle Shea, RN. “I know there are laws about pumping and breaks, but physically when there’s not another person around, you feel like you can’t abandon your patients. It feels like we’re put between a rock and a hard place. But that’s also why nurses are more united. If we stand together, we can do so many things.”
NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, RN, BSN, CCRN, said: "Whether you're a nurse in New York City, Long Island, or Upstate, you deserve respect and fair pay that will help hospitals recruit and retain a safe number of nurses at the bedside. NYSNA nurses advocate for safe, quality care for every community, and all 42,000 members of NYSNA are in solidarity with our South Shore Northwell nurses as they fight for a fair contract for nurses and patients."
The New York State Nurses Association represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. NYSNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United, AFL-CIO, the country's largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses, with more than 225,000 members nationwide.
For more information, visit nysna.org.